800g-1kg mullet, filleted, cleaned and pinboned
400g white cabbage leaves, torn into loose, large leaves
120g coconut sugar, brown sugar or palm sugar, melted (see tip)
2 green shallots, diagonally sliced very thinly
6cm x 3cm piece ginger, peeled, cut into matchsticks
12 fresh mint leaves, washed & torn into pieces
12 fresh coriander leaves, washed
1-2 green Thai scud chillies, seeds removed to reduce heat
30g fried shallots
150ml fresh lime juice
50ml fish sauce
Preheat a wood fire oven to 350ºC. Place fillets, skin side down, on absorbent kitchen paper for 20 minutes prior to cooking, allowing fish to come to room temperature and to partly dry skin. Score skin widthways, every 1cm, using a sharp knife.
In a large roasting dish, place the cabbage and fillets. Gently coat fillets and cabbage with the melted sugar and a pinch of salt. Arrange cabbage in the middle of the dish to act as a base for the mullet to rest on, ensure that the skin side is facing up.
Wood-fire for 3-4 minutes or until just charred, crispy and cooked through. If using a domestic oven, cook in a hot oven 200C for about 10-12 minutes or until golden and cooked through
To make salad garnish, lightly mix shallot, ginger, mint and coriander in a bowl and set aside.
To make dressing: in a mortar & pestle, pound the chillies with the fried onions to form a rough paste. Add lime juice and mix well. Adjust the seasoning with fish sauce, only a little at a time making sure never to overpower the acidity of the lime juice. This dressing is mainly used to dress the salad garnish and the – not the fish, unless desired.
To assemble, transfer the wood-fired mullet and the cabbage to a serving dish. Lightly dress the salad garnish with some of the dressing and mix gently before placing atop the mullet. Drizzle cabbage with remaining dressing, if desired.
"Tip: To melt coconut sugar, place in a small saucepan over a medium-low heat and stir until melted and smooth. You can also add about 40ml of water to the saucepan and simmer until water content has evaporated."